Court Of Appeals: Legal Definition

The United States Court of Veterans Appeals is commonly known as the “Court of Appeals” or simply the “Court.” This seven-member committee was established within to preside over the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (BVA). The Board reviews VA disability appeals from claimants who’ve had their applications denied. If a claimant disagrees with a decision made by the Board, they can appeal to the Court.

The Court of Appeals represents the final phase of a multi-step appeals process, the end of the road for claimants seeking VA disability. If the Court denies a claim, the claimant has few further options aside from starting over with a brand new claim.

The History of the Court of Appeals

The Court of Appeals came into existence under the Veterans’ Judicial Review Act, signed into law by President Ronald Reagan in 1988. The Act established the Court as part of the judiciary system rather than Veteran Affairs. It also defined the makeup of the Court: seven permanent judges appointed for 15-year terms, plus two additional judges. After a judge finishes their 15-year term, they retire but have the option to remain on call as a “recall judge.”

The Court is located in Washington, D.C., but is authorized to hear cases in any of the 50 states.

How to Appeal a Board Decision to the Court of Appeals

If the Board denies your VA disability appeal, you can take it to the Court of Appeals for one last shot at approval. To do this, you must file an appeal with the court within 120 days of the Board’s decision. You have the option of hiring a VA-accredited attorney to represent you, or you can choose to represent yourself. Given the complexity of an appeal to the Court, it’s a good idea to at least speak with a VA disability lawyer about how they can help you.

No Face-to-Face Hearings

Most Court appeals do not result in face-to-face hearings. Instead, the Court reviews your case in the form of a written brief, featuring your (and your attorney’s) arguments and evidence, along with the explanation from the Board on why it denied your claim. Only in certain cases involving legal issues does the Court conduct in-person hearings.

When You Can Appeal to the Court

To be eligible to file an appeal with the Court, you must have received a final decision from the Board. If the Board remands your claim to the Veterans Benefits Administration because it needs additional information to make a decision, you must wait for this process to play out before appealing to the Court.

For a Free VA Disability Case Evaluation With the Disability Advantage Group, Call 865-566-0800 Today

The Veterans Affairs (VA) disability lawyers at the Disability Advantage Group, are eager to assist with your appeal. We want to help you receive a grant of benefits. For a free case evaluation, call us at 865-566-0800.